“Come with me, Mommy! I wanna show you the fairy castle! There’s a little river and everything!”
At the back of our lot is “God’s little acre,” a section loaded with brush and brambles as far as little eyes can see. Wild blackberries ripe for the picking — and every time they bring in a Cool Whip carton full, I pull out a little “Mommy Magic” and whip up a pie.
Now, many days I will send them out into the acre so I can have fifteen minutes of peace and quiet to do something daring, like scrub the kitchen floor. But today, I went with them.
Clambering down the back steps leading down from the deck, Christopher turns and gives me a quizzical expression. “I can’t believe it.”
“Can’t believe what, Sweetie?”
“You came outside. You NEVER come out here with us. You never go outside.” (Which of course was not the truth, but perception is reality.) “But today . . . you came with us!”
Three cheers for Mommy. Who by this time is feeling more than a bit chagrined. Of COURSE I go outside! But I was determined to make THIS adventure a memorable one.
“So… where are we going?” Sarah took me by the hand and led me through the prickers. (Ouch.) Squished up to our ankles in mud. (Yuck.) Listened intently for buzzing or hissing or any other evidence of wildlife. (Eek.)
Finally … There it was. The fairy castle. Right beside a bend in the “river” (a little spring bubbling out of the ground), a natural rise in the ground surrounded by wild grapevines. “You know what would be fun, Mommy?” pipes Sarah. “A PICNIC! Peanut-butter sandwiches, and Rice Krispie bars, and grapes. An CREAM soda!”
Both kids looked at me expectantly. It was only nine o’clock, but suddenly a picnic seemed the most reasonable thing in the world. Must have been all the fairy dust … “Okay, kids. Let’s do it.”
“Oh, boy!!! We get to be the BOSS today!”
And so, “Bossing Day” was born. We went inside and made our picnic, went to the Fairy Castle, and listened to the birds. Then we changed our clothes and headed for the library, and picked up a half-dozen books about Mackinac Island, and went to the park to read them.
We played “spider” and examined spider webs and got Dum-Dums at the post office. We went to McDonalds and tried on sneakers at Meiers, and I even let Sarah pick out the “cover-up” I needed for our outing to the Grand Hotel next week. (Yards and yards of black, flowing material to cover yards and yards of white, flowing body.)
Finally, we headed to the mall and I promised them we’d go bungee jumping (kiddy style) if they would sit VERY quietly while I got my hair cut. So Sarah brought in four “Biscuit” books and Christopher took in his Judy Blume (he’s on a Blume kick lately) … and, lo and behold, I discovered it IS possible to get a decent haircut while your children are watching. Who knew?
All in all, it was a very good day . . . almost all of it kid-directed. We talked about books they were reading, and what they wanted to do this summer, and what they think about late at night, and all kinds of stuff kids will talk about when you REALLY listen.
As parents, all too often we can get so caught up in the daily stressors of parenting that we forget to find the joy of it. Bit by bit, the deadly sins of anger, gluttony, envy, and pride creep in and rob us of the contentment found in reveling in the gift of the present moment. The book of Galatians, St. Paul reminds us …
For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.
But do not use this freedom
as an opportunity for the flesh;
rather, serve one another through love.
Note to self: Schedule more “Bossing Days” into our summer schedule.